Scott Barley

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A note on my time in Belgrade for Magnificent 7 Festival

My time in Belgrade, Serbia... where do I begin?
I was there for less than 24 hours, but it was one of the best days (and nights) of my life.

The Serbian people are the most intelligent, passionate, curious, warm, and generous people I have ever met. They’re beautiful people on the inside and out.

My time there felt like a dream.

The Magnificent 7 Festival is far and away the best film festival that I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. It utterly stands alone in its care for cinema and filmmakers. Screening Sleep Has Her House, and sharing the experience with nearly 1300 other audience members in a massive theatre is a gift I will never forget.

Zoran and Svetlana Popovic are two of the most awe-inspiring, beautiful human beings I have ever had the pleasure to meet. They care about cinema, and the future of cinema, and of young people, of new visions, of pushing cinema forward, genuinely, deeply, like no one else I have ever known. They make it their life’s mission. Serbia is unfathomably lucky to have them.

The students whom I had the pleasure to meet at the Q&A and the midnight workshop bowled me over. I found it deeply emotional to see and talk with students who were so engaged, bright, and passionate about cinema as art. Talking with them, spending time with them, their curiosity, and kindness is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Thank you in particular to, Zoran and Svetlana Popovic, Gabriella Nikolic, Andjelka Vujinovic, Jovan Pantovic, Mia Mujovic, Kristina Tica, and Ema Teokarevic for being so generous and welcoming.

I’m bitterly sad to be back at home now, missing Serbia and its people very much. I will definitely revisit soon.